chapter  2
30 Pages

Some psychodynamics of large groups 1

WithTom Main

In large groups the multiplicity of relations puts thorough reality-testing at a discount; projection systems and personality invasion may thus run rife in networks of unchecked and uncheckable fantasies. Most formal large groups are structured with chairman, agenda, orders of precedence, rituals, rules and procedures which discipline, more or less wisely, spontaneous personal interchange. Massive projective identification of-for instance - feared aggressive parts of the self leaves the remaining self felt only to be weak and unaggressive. Many remarks in a large group thus appear to come from nobody in particular, to be about nobody in particular and to be addressed to nobody in particular. Projection and projective identification as interpersonal concepts have value for the understanding of the behaviour of large unstructured groups as well as small groups, pairs and individuals. Projective processes in the service of relief from intrapersonal pains in industrial situations are powerful factors of major industrial inefficiency and conflicts.